• Prof. Simone Harrison
  • Prof. Simone Harrison
  • James Cook University, Australia
  • Title: Development of a reproducible evaluation and classification system for sun-protective garments incorporating body surface coverage
  • Abstract:
    Sunlight is a known skin carcinogen. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in humans, and typically affects sun-exposed parts of the body. Clothing provides a protective barrier that reduces the amount of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) reaching the skin. Australia pioneered the development of a relative ranking of the sun-protective capabilities of clothing based on the transmission of UVR through fabric. Standardized Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) measurement procedures and associated labeling specifications are documented in the Standard, AS/NZS 4399:1996. Since its introduction in 1996, this standard has been adopted universally by the textile industry, and is still in use almost two decades on, with plans to revise it only commencing relatively recently. The current standard does not consider garment design, particularly in relation to body surface coverage. Skin cancer prevention campaigns should emphasize the sun-protective benefits of clothing and collaboration with the fashion industry is urgently needed to improve the aesthetic appeal, comfort, durability and affordability of sun-protective clothing to increase its popularity in skin cancer prone populations. In light of recent evidence showing that clothing which covers more of the body surface slows the rate of development of pigmented moles in children (major risk factor for melanoma), the rating system for sun-protective clothing should communicate body surface coverage as well as the UPF rating of the fabric. We discuss progress towards developing a protocol for testing and classifying sun-protective clothing, which if successful, may influence international standards in the future.
  • Biography:
    A/Prof Simone Harrison is a cancer epidemiologist with 26 years of experience in skin cancer research and a decade designing sun-protective clothing. She is the Head of the Skin Cancer Research Unit at James Cook University and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. She has attracted over $5 million in research funding and has more than 90 peer-reviewed articles. Her doctoral research focused on risk factors for melanoma and demonstrated the relevance of childhood sun exposure in the development of pigmented moles (important risk factor for melanoma) which was publishedThe Lancet and attracted international media attention, including BBC Radio,London and the New York Times.She has directed several randomised controlled trials, and community-based skin cancer prevention interventions including the first study to determine the efficacy of sun-protective clothing in reducing risk factors for melanoma in early childhood. Children attending childcare centres assigned to the intervention arm who regularly wore high UPF study garments developed fewer pigmented moles at body-sites protected by clothing than children at control childcare centres (continued wearing their own clothing) over 3+ years of follow-up. A/Prof Harrison is also a member of several influential committees, including the Australian Standards Technical Committee responsible for revising the Australian and New Zealand Standard for the Evaluation and Classification of sun-protective clothing (AS/NZ 4399). Dr Harrison’s public health research demonstrates the relevance of personal sun-protection in the prevention of skin cancer, and has tremendous relevance to the textile industry.
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October 23-25, 2015
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July 8, 2015  >> September 9, 2015
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